Recent developments of globalization have made possible the unthinkable.
The EU has authorized the use of wood chips and water as part of the vinification process.
Not long ago the US signed a treaty with the EU that allows wood-chip wines, considered a fraud up to a week ago, to be sold in Europe. In exchange it will be easier to import European wines to the US (what a fair trade).
Now every Country of the Union, starting with France, is updating their laws so that the European wine producers can be competitive in the market.
I’ve been reading funny stories in specialized magazines about how these practices are necessary to bring “quality’ to the everyday consumer, about how the wood-chips are meant to give the characteristics of a barriqued wine without paying the high cost of the barrels. So how dumb were all these producers that had invested in all these years a lot of money, time and wood to let the wine age in barrels, when all they needed to do is to run to the lumberjack and pick up some wood-chips.
I can’t stand this short cut philosophy, especially when applied the process of making eatable and drinkable products.
Why do we globalize the negative?
Why can’t we globalize good taste, artisan products, seasonal produce that is available only when it’s supposed to and not all year long? Why can’t we “globalize” the respect of Mother Nature that needs to be in good shape in order to meet our needs?
Growing up in Italy I loved to look forward to spring time to eat great and tasty fava beans or some fresh and crunchy “puntarelle” (a roman salad with the typical anchovies, oil, garlic and vinegar dressing), as well as the summer for strawberries and fall for chestnuts.
Today we do have available all sorts of produce, meats and fish all year long in unlimited supply the only down side is that most of the time it doesn’t taste like much and at times even dangerous for our health. Remember the mad cow disease?
The same dynamic applies to the wine world; the grapes for industrial wines are grown were the labor cost little to nothing, the yields are so high that the grapes has no substances, and because of that in need of correction and manipulation.
Globalization has brought standardization and the standards are not, unfortunately, so high and I doubt that wood chips and watered wines help to raise the benchmark.
I also fear that in the next couple of decades good wines and wine lovers will need the protection of the WWF as endangered species.
Buona Bevuta a Tutti